If Florida’s Mary Wise was the volleyball czar …

Florida coach Mary Wise talks to her Gators during a break in Friday's practice

After a Friday morning practice inside Matthew Knight Arena on the campus of the University of Oregon just a few hours before the Gators opened their season against Nebraska, Florida coach Mary Wise took on a subject we’ve kicked around before.

What three things would she do if she were the czar of all volleyball?

“No. 1, we would have a professional volleyball league in the United States,” Wise said with smile, adding, “As a czar I’m a really rich czar who’s really connected with filthy-rich people who would understand that volleyball at the professional level is such a great sport for both men and women.

Florida coach Mary Wise
Florida coach Mary Wise

Wise, starting her 26th year at Florida, paused.

“There’s a lot that’s right about volleyball,” she said. “But I think more opportunities are needed for girls who don’t have access either by location or because of finances can’t play club volleyball. That’s something I would like to see changed.”

She laughed.

“Those same filthy-rich people I know because I’m the czar would help create opportunities for funding so that club volleyball is all about access and opportunities and not about who’s making money and who’s not.”

For the longest time Wise campaigned for volleyball to be simply on TV. Certainly now, through networks and streaming, most matches can be seen in some or fashion, especially during the NCAA women’s season.

“In the Olympics, volleyball got a lot of run. What I’d love to see is the mainstream media — not the niche volleyball media — but the mainstream media just pay a little bit more attention to it when we’re competing against the most popular sport in the world, the NFL and college football.”


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